Justin Dry: The guy that digitised wine

Nothing goes together quite like wine and the internet, just ask my credit card. But, understanding traditional wine vernacular is a tough gig for your average punter. Not to mention, there is nothing more boring and obscure than listening to wine people talk about all the things they know about wine. Put a few of these walking yawns around a table and it is a circle jerk nightmare you would drink pure Indonesian arak just to wake up from. So, when the aroma of wit, clarity and tasty as fuck wine, also known as Vinomofo, affordably wafted through our social media feeds, the wine world suddenly made complete Gen Y sense.

When I first heard of Vinomofo and Justin Dry it was 2011, it was a confusing period. A time when the internet was near losing its shit and a window of starkly confronting contrasts presented themselves. According to alcohol, 20 year olds were not only drinking wine but actually liking it, tequila sunrises were very much out the pay day loan window, and unfortunately to begin Sauvignon Blanc was ciphering it’s fruity way up our noses. Later would come better wine and better life choices.

Nevertheless, we liked wine and we liked it all the time – literally. We liked it on Facebook, we liked it on Instagram, we liked it at 3am after Park Life (RIP). Vinomofo made wine accessible, not just by logic but also by delivery.

So, Justin let me sit down with him in between vinos and chat all things Vinomofo and how he created the most useful site on the planet, obviously.

Take a hike boring wine vernacular

Justin Dry is the guy that simplified wine. Vinomofo works directly with the best producers in the world to find the wines people love, which are then curated to your taste and ordered online. Basically, Justin just gets that we’re all unbearably lazy and really like delicious booze stuff for a sweet deal. Anyone that can explain a good drop to me like a sexy rooftop party in New York blended with a skinny dip in Positano in the height of summer, and you’ve turned my millennial ADD into interested and my bank account into overdrawn.

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As co-founder of Vinomofo with brother in law Andre Eikmeier, Justin doesn’t subscribe to this bullshit wine speak that contests every average human’s grasp of the english language. No, instead they’re all about ‘no bowties and BS’, which actually sits as their slogan and a strong point of difference in the industry. “We live by our credo to step up, care more, keep it real, do some good and have fun,” he says.

Show me the money

Justin has always been entrepreneurial. He was the kid that was knocking on neighbours doors to wash their cars and mow their lawns when he was 8. He was making all the cash money while you were at Little Athletics or picking your nose or something. “People probably felt sorry for me. So sorry for me, that I ended up having a lot of regular clients with a regular database. Quickly, I realised I was getting really busy and I needed help. So, I asked my cousin to come and help and I’d give him a percentage of the profit. But, it was my first lesson in hiring people, because my cousin Ben will forever be known as lazy ben.”

At 12 Justin came up with the ingenious idea of selling Christmas trees. “I was selling christmas trees on the corner of a petrol station – before petrol stations had adopted this practice. I bought Christmas trees from a Christmas tree farm – I asked the petrol station on the corner of my street if I could sell them there, so I set up and sold out in the first few hours”.

I’d like to thank the internet

Justin was around during the tech boom in 2000 where he worked as a stockbroker. “I was working at a firm and everything I had a finger on just took off, so all my friends and clients loved me. I couldn’t pick a bad one. Until the crash of course.”

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 5.42.29 pm“Prior to stockbroking, I was always more interested in building businesses than selling face to face. I studied wine at university – Roseworthy College South Australia, which is where I’m from. I first studied wine marketing then moved into wine making. I loved wine but didn’t necessarily want to do it as a job, so the only natural option is to go and become a f-ing stockbroker.”

Road to Vinomofo

PC: vinomofo.com
PC: vinomofo.com

“I’d always been interested in the internet space. So after working as a stockbroker, then in property development, I went travelling and heard about Facebook from some Americans. I still loved wine, so thought I’d start a community Facebook for wine. My brother in law was in something similar – wanting to start a wine site. We came together at christmas and told eachother what we wanted to do , after a few wines we thought, ‘let’s just do it together’. Then we started The Qwoff, a simple wine reviews site.”

In late 2010, Justin came up with the idea of selling wine online off the back of The Qwoff and the large network and database they’d built.

They became known as the “Digital Wine Guys”, the voice of a new generation Gen X and Gen Y wine lovers, embracing social and mobile technology as it emerged, and encouraging the wine industry to embrace it also while expanding their demographics.

Let me buy wine already

Justin has wine in his blood, his ancestors being wine folk, but he was determined to make an accessible culture around wine instead of it being soggier than a lemonade sandwich.

“We love wine, and we wanted to build a place we thought we’d love to buy wine from, and hang out with other people who love wine.”

And that’s exactly what they did, and they created a laid-back, grape loving, culture from it. Today Vinomofo is clocking in at 100 staff and growing, over 400,000 members, 75,000 of those being regular customers, basically buying up all them fermented grapes. Those sneaky devils have also recently expanded into Asia and will have an upcoming global launch day where they will send wines to each select market in that same day, because taking over the world with wine and stuff.

They’re basically the best company ever.

Justin’s punter picks


Got someone you’ve always wanted to meet, or maybe you just think I should? Drop a comment below or email: brittanyleewaller@gmail.com


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